Democratic candidate for President of the United States Elizabeth Warren brought her campaign through Carson City Wednesday claiming that our country is under the control of the top 1% – the very wealthy – while the vast majority of American families struggle harder and harder just to make ends meet while housing costs skyrocket and wages remain mostly flat as related to buying power over the last three decades.
Warren reminded a packed crowd at the Boys and Girls Club that when she was growing up, the federal minimum wage could support a family – not handsomely – but they could “make it.” Warren said it would take many times the current minimum wage to support a family today. Warren strongly hinted that the country was becoming very difficult to live in for those who aren’t wealthy.
Warren said she grew up wanting to be a school teacher. She said tuition at the local junior college was $50/semester and she worked part-time as a waitress to keep herself in school because she wanted to teach “special needs” children. But eventually she felt the draw of law school. Back then it was $450 per semester. But she stuck with it and three years later she graduated as a lawyer. Her family grew and she eventually began teaching law in a law school.
Warren said in her law practice she learned the ins and outs of life through contract law, commercial law, corporate finance, bankruptcies and more. It eventually struck her how increasingly hard it was for working families just to survive. She said she realized more and more that the country’s economic system made the wealthy even more rich, while the middle class was left twisting in the wind.
Warren watched as government worked more and more in favor of giant drug companies, major corporations, oil companies and huge manufacturers while the cost of health care and higher education drifted ever upward, out of reach of middle and lower income families. She added that the ever-growing wealthy class started investing in members of Congress who now obey their donors rather than helping average American families.
Warren says corruption has engulfed Washington DC. She says we need to end corporate lobbying as we’ve known it. We have to shut the revolving door where corporate lobbyists come through and get laws passed that further fuel the wealthy elites at the expense of middle and lower income families. Warren called for a higher quality U.S. Supreme Court that adheres to a higher level of ethics. She also called for a stead-fast requirement that anyone running for federal office must reveal their tax returns. Warren also called for stronger anti-trust laws. She called for easier worker access to labor unions and revamp labor laws that makes unions and their members more effective in bargaining for their fair share of wages and other benefits.
Warren also called for a tax increase on America’s super wealthy. She said for those with incomes over $50 million a year, she would seek legislation that would levy a 2% tax on every dollar over $50 million “earned.” With that provision in place, Warren predicted that college could be free or nearly free for our young people. Black colleges would be better funded. College graduates with huge debt loads could have them paid off so they wouldn’t suffer the burden of heavy debt through their early working years. School teachers would be paid a more livable wage.
For those wealthy complainers who say they are self-made millionaires Warren said they are not self-made. She said all Americans pay for roads, streets, highways and freeways. All Americans pay for bridges, dams and other water projects. All Americans pay for police, fire protection, schools and airports. Therefore, she said, the wealthy must do more to contribute their fair share through a more fair and realistic tax code.
Warren railed against corruption – often carried out in plain sight, she said. She called for a constitutional amendment that guarantees every vote counts in our elections. Political gerrymandering must end and the country must roll back voter suppression laws common in many states. And Warren said Citizens United must be repealed to ensure that votes prevail – not money.
Warren said these reforms and others will restore dignity to the American people and if elected president, she would work tirelessly to make sure it happens.